York Theatre Royal reopens after months of refurbishment

York theatre royal reopens after months of refurbishment
York Theatre Royal / © John R.Saunders

A new production of Brideshead Revisited will signal the relaunch of one of the UK’s oldest theatres, after the discovery of medieval remains forced its closure

The Theatre Royal in York, which vies with the Bristol Old Vic for the title of oldest producing house in the country, reopens on Friday 22 April with a new production of Brideshead Revisited, after buried treasure under the seats of the stalls delayed the relaunch by months.

It was a “good news, bad news” day for Liz Wilson, the chief executive of Theatre Royal, when archaeologists revealed that alongside the things they expected to discover – dropped coins, bits of broken pipe, cigarette packets and spangles from dancers’ gowns – were well-preserved remains of St Leonard’s, the largest hospital in medieval York, including an original floor surface which had survived for more than 800 years.

“On the one hand it was a remarkable and exciting chapter in the story of York, which we were of course delighted to be able to tell. On the other hand … it was certainly a moment.”

The delay could have cost them the pantomime, a northern institution starring one of the most famous Dames in the country, Berwick Kaler, and a lynchpin of the theatre’s annual finances for which thousands of tickets had already been sold. […]